Appeal launched for house fire victims
By ADAM HICKS
IT WAS the nightmare before Christmas.
Shelley Andrews and her children, Ruby, 9, and Dane, 7, lost nearly everything in the fire that destroyed their North Lismore home on Sunday.
"All we have left are the clothes we were wearing and the car," the single mother said yesterday outside the charred shell of the house, on the corner of Pine and Simmons streets.
She had no contents insurance and will have to abandon her home of 19 years and start again.
The family is staying temporarily with Ms Andrews' sister, Chrissy Andrews-Govett, at Chilcotts Grass while desperately seeking a three-bedroom rental house around Bexhill.
"The thought of replacing everything is a nightmare," Ms Andrews said. "This house was my finan- cial security for the future, that's why I put so much effort into it.
"I've spent the past few years renovating and making improvements.
"I feel like it was all wasted. It has to be demolished.
"I won't be able to rebuild it. I've got no choice. The house insurance won't nearly cover the cost. I'm a single pensioner, so I won't be able to re-establish a loan."
The loss has made Ms Andrews feel far from festive.
"I haven't thought about Christmas. I'm just taking it day-byday," she said.
"It's been a real roller-coaster ride. One minute I feel elated we're all alive, and for that I'm totally grateful.